Diglossia, heterophony, superposed voices -- obstacles to translation? - HAL-SHS - Sciences de l'Homme et de la Société Access content directly
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Diglossia, heterophony, superposed voices -- obstacles to translation?


If diglossia implies a conflation of tongues in real life, in literature, the narrative voice may concentrate several layers of speech and thus provide fruitful grounds for analysis. When individual characters' voices are also taken into consideration, various lects and further levels on the continuum scale are introduced, thus shaping the whole as a musical assemblage. Then depending on the type of musical score worked out, such complementary elements will either produce polyphony, that is a combination of different parts making up a piece in which the contained whole prevails over the components, or heterophony. What is there to be translated in Caribbean literature? Why am I mentioning shape and volume and omitting meaning? Because meaning in the sense of signified is no longer relevant when translating literature, and could be better replaced by significance, a wider term which can cover several notions - signified, signifying, connotation, intertextuality, referents, musicality, shape, conflation of tongues, etc. all the items serving as indirect vehicles for the so-called meaning. Hence the importance of volume, which is one of the key features of Caribbean writing. In this respect, the concept of heterophony, understood as the situation in which the author maintains contact with, as well as conflict within, the linguistic and cultural system at work, offers a focal point for discussion and may lead to the recognition of dynamic transfer. In texts teeming with elements of cultural diversity there can be two postures in translation: a conservative one or a creative one. Conservative when the translator wants to be sure readers will be familiar with what they are reading, creative when the translator is not frightened to unsettle his/her readers and dares show what the conservative translator would attempt to hide. When a linguistic continuum, in all its diverse forms, is present in an original, and cultural items, unusual to the culture of reception, shape the story, the dynamic translator acts creatively by keeping all these visible.


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halshs-00818576 , version 1 (27-04-2013)


  • HAL Id : halshs-00818576 , version 1


Christine Raguet. Diglossia, heterophony, superposed voices -- obstacles to translation?. Diglossia, heterophony, superposed voices -- obstacles to translation?, Apr 2013, NYU, New York, United States. ⟨halshs-00818576⟩
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